Who's Afraid of Charles Sanders Peirce? Knocking Some Critical Common Sense into Moral Philosophy

In Cornelis De Waal & Krysztof Piotr Skowronski (eds.), The Normative Thought of Charles S. Peirce. Fordham University Press. pp. 83-100 (2012)
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In this essay I explore the potential contribution of Peirce's theory of scientific inquiry to moral philosophy. After a brief introduction, I outline Peirce's theory of inquiry. Next, I address why Peirce believed that this theory of inquiry is inapplicable to what he called "matters of vital importance," the latter including genuine moral problems. This leaves us in the end with two options: We can try to develop an alternative way of addressing moral problems or we can seek to reconcile moral problems with scientific inquiry as described by Peirce. Though Peirce seems to argue for the former, I argue for the latter.

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Cornelis de Waal
Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis


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